Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Geisha jacket

Thank-you to everyone for such a warm welcome back!
Before I delve into the jacket particulars...
Allison - the dressform came as you see it - it's not actually a form for fitting, but a "decorator" piece.
Sheila - thank-you for checking up on me back in July.  I only just noticed your comment.
Barbara - I'll explain the sleeve fitting fix in a later post - I had to do the same for this jacket.
Back view
Front view

I just happened to walk into the store when this fabric arrived - love at first sight!  Quilting fabric - a panel print with geisha girls in my favourite colour  - brown.  Lots of coordinating fabrics.  Normal people put these all together and make a quilt or a wall hanging.  Not normal people (me) need to figure out how to make this work as a piece of clothing.  Part of the same shipment - this pattern.
It was difficult to choose just three fabrics of the too many choices, but I finally did.  And to be sure that this jacket would actually get made, it was to be a sample for a class.  It still took almost three months to get done in-betwixt and in-between various other goings on.
The pattern was an unknown commodity to me.  There was only a finished bust measurement to help in choosing size, which seemed huge.  Like it or not, a muslin was absolutely necessary, and that's a story for the next post.  The "muslin" became a second jacket.  Bonus.
Once the pattern alterations were done, each piece was traced onto the printed cotton and rough cut.  Then the print was layered with batting and lining (a silk jacquard that was supposed to be a blouse at some point, but it just happened to be the perfect match, and... well... lining this jacket was a greater necessity than a brown silk blouse... at the time).  Each piece was basted, then quilted.  Sounds fairly straight forward and easy.  Not quite.  I dithered and I procrastinated and I dithered some more.  It's a scary process, this quilting business, especially if the result has to be absolutely perfect, because people will be looking up close, and flipping to the inside to have a look, and... ( I do such a wonderful job of making myself fell incompetent.)  Oh, and then there was the issue of how to quilt each piece.  Couldn't run lines of stitching through the faces!  Should I do straight lines? diagonal? diamonds?  In the end, each fabric was done differently.  And no, I do not own a walking foot - I just held the fabric taut as I sewed, and I prayed ... a lot.
According to the pattern instructions, the seam allowances are to be serged.  Not on my precious jacket!  I opted for a sort of lapped seam on the inside - hand stitched to not show on the outside.
What a relief to finally get to the binding.  End in sight!
Buttons with flowers sort of blend in
Then there were the buttonholes...  My original intent was to stitch buttonholes by hand.  I machine stitched rectangles, made the cuts.  (Made several samples on scraps.) Those darn buttonholes looked just awful.  Even with two times around in heavier thread, the batting kept poking through.  After having a bit of a meltdown, then ripping out the stitching, I decided to simply wrap the "holes" in tiny strips of fabric and had stitch these down - a sort of bound buttonhole look.  Could have saved myself a lot of time and anguish, had I come to this decision much earlier in the process.
Inside detail at collar
The class for making this jacket was in early spring.  Interestingly enough - not a single person in that class chose the same fabric as I did, and I had thought that the fabric was the star of the show.  Turned out it was the pattern!
Having lived at the store for almost six months, the jacket now hangs in my closet - as yet unworn.  It just seems too "special" to wear on just any old day.  Perhaps I'll finally wear it to the opera this Saturday, even though "going to the opera" around here, is just going to the movie theatre for a live broadcast from the Met in New York.


  1. Wow! Your jacket looks sensational!

  2. Irene - that is the most beautiful wearable art. I've opened a gallery just for you!!

  3. What a stunning creation. Perfect. I hope you wear it a lot – if it were mine, it would make my day every time I put it on. Brava!

  4. Wow! Irene, that jacket is really sublime !! I understand your feelings of not wear it any day really special ... it's !! I deeply admire your job!

  5. Your jacket is a divine piece of wearable art!

  6. Oh,ypor jacket is fabulous,and the fabrics are matching perfectly!I would like to find the same and to be as clever as your to kilt and mixe all of that.
    You merit to be the winner of a "sewing bee"Congratulations from a French sewist:see more on my blog:Folie de mode blogspot!.

  7. Wow, that is a wonderful jacket. I love the fabric, and most of all, love the careful stitching of every corner and juncture. Just so impressive!

  8. Wow stunning work - sorry no more blogging breaks for you, we want to keep seeing your creations!

  9. A belated welcome back. Your jacket is absolutely stunning.

  10. You've made "quilting fabric" very classy!


  11. This is absolutely stunning! What a great and creative use of that fabric! Wow!

  12. WOW your jacket is beautiful! I love Geisha's too :)

  13. Beautiful, Irene. It's so good to see you blogging again.